Baby Ape Rescued From Filthy Backyard Box A ‘Symptom’ Of Palm Oil Industry

Heartbreaking photos of a neglected baby orangutan kept as a pet in Indonesia don’t depict an isolated incidence of animal mistreatment, but reflect the horrific toll of the palm oil industry, according to an international animal rescue group.

The young orangutan, later named “Gito” by rescue workers, was previously kept as a pet by Pak Ajung, the head of a village in Ketapang’s Simpang Hulu district on the island of Borneo, Lis Key, spokeswoman for UK-based nonprofit International Animal Rescue, told The Huffington Post. A local group, the Centre for Orangutan Protection, contacted IAR a few weeks ago with concern over the animal’s welfare.

“The condition of Gito on our team’s arrival was shocking even for them, who have seen hundreds of captive orangutans,” Key said. “Gito looked as what can only be described as a mummified baby orangutan with a severe skin condition.”

In addition to the skin condition — which turned out to be a serious case of mange — the orangutan was also suffering from severe dehydration, malnutrition and diarrhea caused by a lack of proper care.

“Gito was being kept in an instant noodle cardboard box, wet from his own urine, and given only sweetened condensed milk from a can,” Key said. While a press release described Gito as having been “left out in a backyard in the sun to die.” Key said Ajung appeared to be more overwhelmed than intentionally cruel.

“The man was keeping him as a pet but when he became sick … he dumped him in the box. … I suspect that he simply found the problem of having a sick baby orangutan on his hands too difficult to deal with,” she explained. Ajung, she said, was happy to turn the animal over.

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